Pope's Address to Visually Handicapped on Feast of St. Lucy

«The presence of disabled persons causes all to make a community, in fact, to be a community, to welcome one another with ones limitations, because we all have capacities, but we all have limitations!»

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry

On Saturday, Pope Francis received in audience members of the National Council of the Italian Union of the blind and Visually Handicapped, on the occasion of the feast of Saint Lucy.

Here is a translation of the Pope’s address.

* * *

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I welcome you and thank you for this meeting. I thank the President, Doctor Mario Barbuto, for the words with which he introduced it.

He made reference to Saint Lucy, as patroness of persons deprived of sight. This is not taken for granted, because yours is a non-confessional association; yet you suggested that our meeting be held in fact today, confirming that for you the tradition has a certain meaning.

Therefore I would like to refer to some human values that the figure of Saint Lucy suggests to us. I stress: human values. Lucy lived them in an exemplary way thanks to her faith in Christ, but they are to be shared by all.

First of all Lucy suggests to us a value that seems very important to me and also for you: courage. She was a defenseless young woman, but she faced tortures and a violent death with great courage, a courage that came to her from the Risen Christ, with whom she was united, and from the Holy Spirit, who dwelt in her.

We are all in need of courage to face the trials of life. In particular blind and visually handicapped persons are in need of it, so as not to be shut-in on themselves, not to assume a self-pitying attitude but, on the contrary, to open themselves to reality, to others, to society, to learn to know and to value the capacity that the Lord has placed in each one, truly in each one, with no one excluded! However, courage is needed for this, strength of mind.

Another value suggested by Saint Lucy is the fact that she was not alone, but was part of a community, a member of a Body of which Christ is the Head, stone of a building of which Christ is the foundation. This aspect also finds confirmation on the human plane. You are an association, and this is a value! An association is not the sum of individuals; it is much more. Today there is much need to live the associative dimension with joy and commitment, because in this historical moment it is “declining,” it is not strongly felt. To form a group, to be in solidarity, to encounter one another, to share experiences, to put resources in common … all this is part of the civil patrimony of a people. And often persons who live with disadvantages and disabilities can say to all with their experience that they are not “monads,” that they are not made to be isolated, but to relate with one another, to complete, help, accompany, and support one another and so on. The presence of disabled persons causes all to make a community, in fact, to be a community, to welcome one another with one’s limitations, because we all have capacities, but we all have limitations!

Finally, Lucy tells us that life is made to be given. She lived this in the extreme form of martyrdom, however, the value of the gift of self is universal: it is the secret of true happiness. Man is not fully realized in having or in doing; he is fulfilled in loving, that is, in giving himself. And this can also be understood as the secret of the name “Lucy”: a person is “luminous” in the measure in which he is a gift to others. And, in reality, every person is so — is a precious gift!

Dear friends, to live according to these values can entail, today also, misunderstandings, the effort of going sometimes against the current; but this should not astonish: witness always requires paying in person. Today’s societies, which focus a lot on “individualist” rights, risk forgetting the dimension of the community and that of the free gift of self to others. Therefore, there is still need to struggle, with the example and the intercession of Saint Lucy! I hope you will do so with courage and with the joy of doing so together.

Happy Christmas to you and to all the members of the association!

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Share this Entry


Support ZENIT

If you liked this article, support ZENIT now with a donation